It’s tempting to think that news and updates from your offices should be the main staple of your blog.
While these should definitely be included, to build a blog with a strong reputation, reach and readership, you need a lot more variety.
To form an on-going relationship with potential clients, you need blog posts that’ll reveal not only your expertise but also your personality and likeability.
With this in mind, I’ve collected together 21 of my favourite blog post styles ideal for architectural firm websites. You’ll also find some real examples, plus some of my ideas, within many of the numbered suggestions.
1. Exploring previous projects
On the many architectural websites I visit, I see hundreds of extraordinary portfolio photographs but little written context to go with them. Turn some of your previous projects into a blog post. Tell readers about what the client wanted, how you developed the ideas, how you made the designs, and finally, how it all came into being.
Share relevant photographs and drawings. Highlight any problems faced and how you overcame the issues.
Make a story out of it. Interview fellow architects who also worked on the project. You can even explain any significant local events which had an impact on the development of the building(s).
The Sheppard Robson architecture practice provides some great examples on their 75 stories site. Each project review is presented as a series of first-person interviews. Well worth a look.
2. Day in the life of your practice
Potential clients will be impressed with your portfolio. However, they also want to know more about the architects behind the stunning building designs they see. It’s a key task of yours to connect with them on a personal level.
A series of blog posts which open the doors into your architectural offices and studios is one way to do this. Tell your readers about what happens on a typical day among your architects. What do the desks you work on look like? Where are meetings usually held? What’s the standard daily schedule?
All this breaks down barriers between client and architect, and gives your practice a familiar and friendly appeal. Architect Bob Borson provides an example of what this could look like in his blog post The Best Things about my Future New Office.
3. Customer reviews of your buildings
Have you recently had a client eloquently enthuse about what a great job you did designing their new home or office block? If so, see if they will agree to an interview and a walkthrough of the new building. Ask some questions and let them provide the body of the blog post in their own words.
This provides another opportunity to share photos or videos of your work. What’s more, it will give context and a client-orientated story to the finished project, which images alone cannot do.
Think of the reviews you might have already on your website. Now imagine them in a conversational tone, together with related images, and you’ll get a good idea of how great a blog post of this type will be to read.
4. About your practice architects
People connect most with a brand when they get to know the people behind the scenes. Don’t hide your architects behind small formal bios. Bring them onto the stage by giving them blog post exposure. Shine a light on their individual talents, personalities, and experiences.
A good way to do this is to explore their design philosophies. Give them each a blog profile and allow them to contribute a post, perhaps once a month, writing about their personal design concepts, their favourite contemporary styles, and what’s happening in their lives with a connection to architecture.
Australian architect Talina Edwards provides a good example in her Elemental Design Philosophy post. Remember, a blog post is different to a more formal ‘About’ page. With a blog you have a lot more freedom to go in-depth and also to be more expansive.
5. The life of an architect
What’s it like to be an architect? Your potential clients have an image of what an architect does but it’s likely to be very different from your reality. Use some of your blog posts to unveil what being an architect is really like.
In a gentle and jovial manner, talk about your work and your life. Tell your readers how you came to be an architect in the first place. Explain to them the challenges you frequently face. Write about the types of people you have to collaborate with. Highlight the sort of projects you like best and how it feels to see a completed building you designed.
Want a great example? There’s a blog devoted to this one topic alone and it’s a great read. Here it is: Life of an Architect (notice the number of comments each post attracts). That’s what an architect’s practice blog should look like.
6. Architecture in the local region
As an architect you’ll be aware of notable buildings in your local region. Show your knowledge and expertise by writing about these buildings on your blog. Do a little research and find out the history behind the landmark or distinguished structure.
See if you can uncover some fascinating little facts about who lived in, or owned, such buildings.
These blog posts will show you are knowledgeable about your local area and have a more intellectual architectural awareness. Clients will be impressed by an architect who shows a detailed knowledge of his industry and a familiarity with the region and its unique complexities.